In Sydney on Friday, May 6, the Midnight Special in Enmore hosted an event memorialising the tenth anniversary of Grant McLennan's death. Since I was out of town and unable to make it, I sent along these few words for a reading:
Really wish I could be there but I can’t, I’m in Cambodia, on the road with the Cambodian Space Project, heading up the river, exactly where I’m not sure but we’ll find out when we get there… and right now thinking of Grant too, or the G-Man as I used to call him… and so thought to just send these few words through…
Is it already ten years? I will never forget that Saturday night when I got The Call. I’d never been that shocked and shattered in my whole life, and I hope I never am again. I remember thinking even then how young it was, and of course I feel that all the more acutely now, after the passage of ten years, and with hopefully maybe another precious decade or so ahead of me yet too…
I miss Grant, I really do. We just used to have so much fun when we got together. We were friends, and we just used to laugh so much, we used to laugh ourselves silly. I don’t care about his music and all those achievements and all that. No, that’s not right, I do – but I’ll leave that for others to eulogise. To me, I lost a friend when Grant died, and really quite honestly, selfishly I suppose, what I’d most like right now – what I really miss – more than hearing a new record by him or seeing a show, would be for him to walk through the door and so to spend a night with him, both of us perched on our respective barstool mountains, like maybe right there at the Midnight Spesh (he’d have loved the Spesh!), shooting shit the way we used to do…
But seriously, of course, yeah, I would love to also be able to hear some new songs from Grant - who knows how much more he might have had in him? But these are all the futile hypotheticals, the I wishes...
Grant, I don’t know, maybe he was just all a bit too delicate for this world, maybe he didn’t allow for or open up to the possibilities of a future that was scarred but still enduring. He could be maddening, everyone that knew him well knows that. But then maybe it was just cosmic reality too. Certainly I don’t condemn him for some of the choices he made. I might regret them, for his sake, but I don’t condemn him. Because certainly, again, the achievement of his short life was not insignificant to say the least, just as the love he generated – that he gave, and was given – was enormous…
Funnily, finally, I go back to Bon Scott, because I am Bon Scott’s Boswell after all, and believe it or not, I can see parallels between Bon and Grant and if I had a bit more time I’d show them to you. But to go back not so much to Bon himself, who by proxy I feel I do know quite well, but one of his friends, Vince Lovegrove - the late Vince Lovegrove, who I did know very well, and was a beautfiul guy - and who wrote when Bon died: “How or why you died, Bon, I don’t give a damn. I only know and care that it was too soon.”
Which is pretty much the same way I feel about Grant.
Raise your glass… we all loved him, and he loved us all back… we’ll just have to wait to see him again in that big barroom in the sky. Cheers.